Friday, October 29, 2010

He gave up a fat salary to feed the hungry

Madurai: He was our Catch last week, an incredible story of a young chef who shunned the lure of a job abroad and a fat salary to feed the hungry and abandoned of Madurai. This is Naryanan Krishnan, in the race for CNN's hero of the year, telling his story to NDTV. (Catch of the Day: He brings hot meals to India's homeless) He does it all himself - slices vegetables, prepares the rice - using his skills as a chef to cook large meals. Then, he takes food packets to the destitute and mentally ill, often feeding them with his own hands. Krishnan says he had an offer to be a chef at a five-star hotel in Switzerland, but a turning point in 2002 set him on a different course. "On that day I saw a hungry man eating his own human waste. I was shocked. Quickly I ran and bought him idlis. His face smiled with gratitude", Krishnan, now 29, recalls. Akshaya Trust, which Krishnan runs, feeds around 400 people thrice a day. All through public donations. As one of the top ten picked globally and now competing for the CNN's hero of the year award, Krishnan has already won $ 25,000. If he wins the top prize he will get $ 100,000.
He needs that money to complete his Akshaya Home, a Rs. three-crore rupee shelter for 400 abandoned and mentally ill people. "We will rehabilitate 400 people. They can work and get back to their families. They can, above all, die with dignity. They are now moving as dying destitutes." Krishnan says. To win and make the shelter a reality, all Krishnan needs is lots of Indians voting for him at the CNN website. (Vote for Krishnan here)